Prawn power lights the way

Next time you need to charge your mobile shove it in your prawn cocktail starter! It might sound a bit fishy but shellfish could hold the key to a new […]

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By Taryn Nixon

Next time you need to charge your mobile shove it in your prawn cocktail starter!

It might sound a bit fishy but shellfish could hold the key to a new form of sustainable solar power.

That’s because researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have successfully created electricity generating solar cells from the shells of shrimps and other crustaceans.

Materials from the shell – chitin and chitosan – abundant in shellfish have been used to make the cells.

The efficiency of the cells is low but if it can be improved they could be placed in everything from mobile phones to smart watches and chargers for tablets.

Dr Joe Briscoe, one of the researchers on the project, said: “This could be a great new way to make these versatile, quick and easy to produce solar cells from readily available, sustainable materials.

“Once we’ve improved their efficiency they could be used anywhere that solar cells are used now, particularly to charge the kinds of devices people carry with them every day.”

So no more being shellfish over people using your chargers. You’ve been prawned!